Attitudes of Scottish abortion care providers towards provision of abortion after 16 weeks' gestation within Scotland

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2013 Jun;18(3):215-20. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2013.775240. Epub 2013 Mar 22.


Background: In Scotland, in contrast to the rest of Great Britain, abortion at gestations over 20 weeks is not provided, and provision of procedures above 16 weeks varies considerably between regions. Women at varying gestations above 16 weeks must travel outside Scotland, usually to England, for the procedure.

Objective: To determine the views of professionals working within Scottish abortion care about a Scottish late abortion service.

Methods: Delegates at a meeting for abortion providers in Scotland completed a questionnaire about their views on abortion provision over 16 weeks and their perceived barriers to service provision.

Results: Of 95 distributed questionnaires, 70 (76%) were analysed. Fifty-six respondents (80%) supported a Scottish late abortion service, ten (14%) would maintain current service arrangements, and five (7%) were undecided. Forty (57%) of the supporters of a Scottish service would prefer a single national service, and 16 (22%) several regional services. Perceived barriers included lack of trained staff (n = 39; 56%), accommodation for the service (n = 34; 48%), and perception of lack of support among senior management (n = 28; 40%).

Conclusion: The majority of health professionals surveyed who work in Scottish abortion services support provision of abortion beyond 16 weeks within Scotland, and most favour a single national service. Further work on the feasibility of providing this service is required.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Scotland
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health Services
  • Workforce